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Brodeur talks about Lundqvist ahead of Game 1

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur says he always enjoys the playoff battles against the New York Rangers.

On Monday, he'll step between the pipes in his fifth playoff series against the Broadway Blueshirts. It will also mark his third matchup against Henrik Lundqvist, who'll be manning the cage at the other end in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden.

Brodeur spoke to the media following New Jersey's practice Sunday about the rivalry and facing Lundqvist. Brodeur has a 1-3 series record against the Rangers in the playoffs.

"I think it's a big rivalry," Brodeur said. "They're the best team in the Eastern Conference and they proved it all year. They got themselves the No. 1 spot, they used it for two Game 7s to be able to stay alive in the playoffs, and they're going to use it to have home ice advantage right from the get-go on us. So for us, we have to do what we've been doing, just put our head down and listen to our coach and just play well.


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"Regardless of what series that we had in the past, everything's out the window. It's what we're going to do starting [Monday]."

While Brodeur answered all questions regarding his counterpart, Lundqvist, between the pipes, you got a sense he was playing to media in attendance as well.

"Well, I mean, he's a Vezina candidate," Brodeur said. "I don't know, he's unbelievable lately. He's kind of the top goalie in the NHL right now. And I think I was in that position once. I played against Patrick [Roy], played against Dominik Hasek, I played against all the guys that maybe were in the top years in their career, but for me it's kind of nice to be able to compete against them, regardless of what's going to happen.

"I'll do my best to try to match up, but it's going to be pretty hard. He's a pretty good goalie."

Lundqvist is 8-6 with a 1.68 goals-against average and .937 save percentage in 14 games this postseason. Brodeur, who was pulled from Game 3 of his team's conference quarterfinal-round series against the Florida Panthers, is 8-3 with a 2.05 GAA and .920 save percentage for New Jersey.

Brodeur's starts against Lundqvist haven't been too favorable, in fact. Lundqvist, is 23-6-6 in the regular-season against Brodeur and 4-4 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Brodeur, who turned 40 years old on May 6, was asked if he thought New York's success against him is a reflection of team and circumstances, or if it was Lundqvist?

"I think it's because of him," Brodeur said. "I don't know how many times he's shut us down and played so well. I didn't think I played that bad. I think circumstances, you could talk about my record against Mike Richter and we'll probably flip-flop the stats. At one point, it's pretty lopsided. So you play long enough, you can make the stats read whatever you want. That's something I don't really pay attention to. Like I said, he's a goalie at the prime of his career right now. He's playing really well and I think he's cherished that challenge to play against the Devils. Really, the only thing I could say, I'll do better in the playoffs."

Lundqvist is not only a Hart Trophy candidate this season, but a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the League's top goalie -- an award Brodeur has won four times over his brilliant career.

Lundqvist went 39-18-5 in 62 regular-season appearances, setting a career high in wins. He placed near the top in all major goaltending categories, including third in shutouts (eight), fourth in goals-against average (1.97) and fourth in save percentage (.930).

Devils captain Zach Parise was told by one media member that the book on Lundqvist was to shoot high.

"Can we have a copy of that book?" Parise asked. "You know more than us, apparently."

Brodeur, meanwhile, has set regular-season records for career games (1,191), victories (656), shutouts (119) and minutes played (70,028). He'll be making his 183rd straight playoff start Monday opposite Lundqvist.

He was asked the secret to Lundqvist's success.

"Even [if] I would have found the secret, I doubt I would tell you guys," Brodeur said. "But I didn't. All the adjustments, I'm sure he does the same thing. You don't become top goalie in the League by just putting your pads on and going out to play. You need to be smart about what you do and have to learn the players that you play against, the system you play against.

"He's got a goalie coach," he continued. "I'm sure he's talked about it and he'll be ready for us and it's about us trying to get him disturbed somehow. Get him some traffic and get some quality shots on him."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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